Perth hospitals to offer 24-hour stroke management

Perth will soon become the second city in Australia to offer specialised stroke management 24 hours a day, seven days a week, after contractors recently completed the planned expansion of both Sir Charles Gairdner and Fiona Stanley hospitals.

The two-year project has involved hundreds of health care professionals, with special diagnosis training for St John Ambulance paramedics and the hiring of extra nurses and radiology staff.

Health Minister John Day said hundreds of West Australians were expected to benefit each year.

“This will be life-changing for hundreds of people,” he said.

“Stroke is our leading cause of disability and one of WA’s biggest killers, with rapid treatment crucial to recovery.

“Additional specialist trained staff will be employed to extend the existing service, which will help reduce stroke’s devastating impact on Western Australian families and the economy.”

Department of Neurological Intervention and Imaging Service Western Australia department head Will McAuliffe said the new system would likely see much better recovery rates.

“If we get patients less than 65, and manage to get the clot out in less than four and a half hours, probably 60 per cent of patients will go home returning to their previous lifestyle,” Dr McAuliffe said.

“It is a very powerful medical intervention. It’s one of the most powerful medical interventions where you can do three procedures and save more than one patient.”

Dr McAuliffe said the initiative was all about team work.

“We have to be mindful of the fact that technology is only limited by time,” he said.

“We have to go into this knowing that it’s one, a team effort, two, we need to be supported by the health department, which we are at this time, and three, that no technique is perfect.”